1 Sep 2010

Protest at Darwin detention centre ends

6:39 pm on 1 September 2010

A protest by asylum seekers in Australia's Northern Territory has ended peacefully.

Police say they encircled about 80 Afghan men who had been protesting peacefully outside the immigration detention centre, on the outskirts of Darwin, for seven-and-a-half hours.

The men broke out by pushing through two electrified fences on Wednesday morning.

Most are now in custody, with four under guard in hospital - two suffering from heat exhaustion.

Earlier, the escapers held signs saying: "Please help us", "Show us mercy", and "We are homeless, defenceless and we seek protection".

Two of them say they are from Afghanistan and have been waiting for eight months in detention.

One hundred Indonesian men accused of people-smuggling started protesting at the centre on Sunday.